When parents are addicted to cell phones – identify and solve the problem
As statistics show, the number of people addicted to cell phones is growing steadily, and anyone who frequently moves around the city can see this for themselves. Many people regularly take their smartphone out of their pocket or even never put it down to check the news, make phone calls or use various apps or games. Mothers and fathers are not exempt from this and overlook the consequences that constantly looking at the cell phone display can have for themselves and also their children.
When are you addicted to your cell phone?
In the psychological or psychotherapeutic sense, cell phone or smartphone addiction is considered a non-substance-related addiction, just like, for example, television addiction, compulsive work or gambling addiction. Since it is still a very new type of addiction, there are hardly any criteria for diagnosis so far. However, the first signs are that those affected reach for their cell phones unusually often and almost compulsively check their messages and chat histories at shorter intervals. In the worst case, anxiety or depression may even develop if the cell phone is forgotten at home or the battery is empty. If these symptoms only occur for a short time, for example because one is freshly in love and waiting for messages, one does not necessarily have to assume a cell phone addiction yet. The situation is different if the use of the smartphone dominates one’s entire life to an excessive degree and one’s thoughts revolve around it even when it is not being used at all.
Parents put the cell phone away! – What are the consequences of mobile phone addiction for parents and children?
Like many other addictions, cell phone addiction often leads to neglect of social contacts. This can lead to strong conflicts, especially within a family. Mothers or fathers neglect the household, do not take care of healthy meals and are no longer interested in what their children are doing. This can even go so far that smaller children in particular are put in danger, for example because the parent looking after them is not paying attention in traffic or is not there in time in the event of an impending accident on the playground. Older children and teenagers feel ignored by their parents if they spend more time on their cell phones than with them. This then manifests itself, for example, in a drop in academic performance (reasons for poor grades at school) or even in illness. In addition, there can be physical consequences, such as chronic pain in the neck, tendonitis in the fingers and thumbs, and difficulty falling asleep. It is not yet clear to what extent constant cell phone use is responsible for the development of tumors in the central nervous system. Therefore, caution is advisable when constantly reaching for the smartphone. If the parents are ill, this ultimately also has a lot of negative influence on the children. Finally, it must be remembered that parents have a role model function and children may perceive frequent cell phone use as normal. Read also: Cell phones for children
Recognize parental cell phone addiction
One problem is that many of those affected do not even notice their cell phone addiction at first, but perceive their behavior as completely normal. Family members and friends are then called upon to address the addiction. Unfortunately, there is still no uniform definition of cell phone or smartphone addiction and thus there is also a lack of reliable clinical diagnoses. If you want to check for yourself whether a dependency exists, you should question the following:
- Do you occupy yourself excessively with the smartphone and neglect other activities?
- Do you never put the phone down, even when you are with your children or friends?
- Do you get irritable or restless when your phone is out of reach?
- Do you organize your entire life with your smartphone?
- Do you resolve to use the cell phone less, but it doesn’t work?
Parents can do this so that cell phone addiction does not become a burden for the family
Even at the first signs of a cell phone addiction, your own behavior should be questioned and the use of the device should be limited. This can be achieved, for example, by setting fixed daily schedules and establishing cell phone-free zones or times. For example, the smartphone is banned from the dining table at mealtimes and is not taken out of the pocket at the playground or during other activities with the children. If it is not possible to reduce the cell phone addiction on one’s own, there are no concrete treatment options so far, but it is still advisable to consult a doctor or psychologist. Under certain circumstances, the cell phone addiction is only a consequence of other causes.
Also read our tips for conscious electronics use.